We left the hotel and followed L up the street single file. Although the street was fairly wide, the sidewalks were not. And they were not in the best repair either. Large pieces upturned just waiting for the unwary to catch a toe and go sailing face first into the pavement. Or actual holes to step into and possibly break a leg or sprain a groin! Complicating this is the fact that the streets are not flat, as we are used to. They are built on an upside down U configuration so that water runs off both sides into the large, deep gutters that the sidewalks are built somewhat over. In places, there are actual concrete “bridges” to get from the sidewalk, across the gutter and into the street. This is all done because of the tremendous amount of rainfall this area receives each day.
Costa Rica basically has two seasons, summer and winter. These are typically referred to as the green (rainy) season and the brown (dry) season. We were visiting in the middle of the green season. In a normal year, CR receives about 13 feet of rainfall. That is quite a lot, most of it received during the few months of green season. We had brought rain ponchos with us, but still found it necessary, and more convenient to buy and carry umbrellas everywhere. Just like the thousands of Costa Ricans do.
We only had a few blocks to go before we reached our dinner location. We were to have our first meal in a local “soda”. That is what a diner is called there and they are very informal places, all serving the typical Costa Rican food known as a “casada”. This is usually a large platter piled with chicken, pork or beef and accompanied with red beans, rice and some kind of cole slaw or vegetable. Enough food gets piled on to serve three people yet it is just one serving! B and L ordered up a casada each. I wasn’t very hungry (a condition that was to follow me throughout the two week visit. The food was excellent but I just never seemed to get hungry) I had a plate of homemade French fries. A great American start to a foreign visit! Never mind. They were excellent.
While we were eating, the friendly, chatty waitress was doing some cleaning of the place. We were sitting in an open booth and she got a little too close. She actually swiped the wet, dirty mop she was using across my flip flop clad feet. She apologized profusely, not so much out of concern for getting my feet wet, but because there is a saying in CR that goes something along the lines that if you get your feet mopped, you will never marry! I wanted to tell her not to get her undies in a bunch ‘cuz it wasn’t gonna matter anyhow, but kept my silence!
Dinner accomplished, we made our way back to the hotel and fell into a deep sleep. Tomorrow was to really start the adventure and we had a visit to a volcano planned!